Salted Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate Sheet Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

 
 
I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?
— Ernest Hemingway
 

I love baking. I really truly do... but some weeks... I'm just not feeling it. I spend enough hours in the kitchen as it is making breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And to be completely honest, when it comes time to make something for the blog it is sometimes the last thing I want to do. There is a lot that goes into each recipe that I post. The short version is: 

1. Think of a recipe idea

2. Start recipe developing (I have a huge notebook that I write down all of my ideas) 

3. Test the recipe (this can happen once, twice, three times... four times...)

4. Taste the recipe and get others opinions on it (hopefully I get good feedback or the recipe goes in the trash)

5. Take photos + edit photos + upload photos

6. Type up blog post and recipe + edit + add all of the photos 

7. Publish the recipe and upload it to all of my social media accounts. 

It is a pretty lengthy and tiring process. It's rare that I don't feel like baking because I truly do love it. It is my main hobby and right now I am trying to turn it into a career. To be honest, I don't think many people believe that I can make a career out of food blogging but I am extremely optimistic. Jake has a lot of confidence in me and he encourages me to do it. I love him so much. 

But as it goes, this week I did not want to spend extra time in the kitchen. I thought about making something simple just to have a recipe to post. Then, Jake told me that his family was having a get together and I immediately said, "Tell them that I'll make something for dessert!" *Face in palm*.

I guess I didn't really want to stay out of the kitchen after all. But that didn't mean that I couldn't still make something easy. So I decided on this weeks recipe: A Chocolate Sheet Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream. And you guys... it was SO delicious. Everyone at the get together really liked it and Jake even had two pieces. I am a sucker for chocolate anything but chocolate cake specifically. And caramel is also another weakness of mine. So I decided to put the two together and of course they were a perfect pair. 

I love making sheet cakes because they are so easy. You bake it in one 9 x 13" sheet pan, frost it, cut, and serve all while the cake has never left the sheet pan! It's perfect for serving at a party and for an on-the-go dessert. My last sheet cake I shared with you on here, Chocolate Sheet Cake with Espresso Buttercream , is still one of my favorite cakes I have ever made. Jake and I ate HALF of it by ourselves. The only reason we didn't the other half was because we shared it with my family. 

This cake truly is delicious and is so easy to make! Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Thanks for visiting the blog this week everyone! 

 

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Sheet Cake


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Serves 12-15

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour

  • 2 1/4 Cups White Sugar

  • 1 Cup Dutch Processes Cocoa Powder *see note

  • 1 Teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder

  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1 Cup Whole Milk

  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil

  • 3 Large Eggs

  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

  • 1 Cup Boiling Water

For the Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 Cup White Sugar

  • 3 Tablespoons Water

  • 1/8 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream, room temp

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, room temp

  • Big Pinch of Kosher Salt

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream

  • 4 Ounces (1/2 Cup) Egg Whites **see note

  • 1 Cup White Sugar

  • 1/8 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1 1/2 Cups (24 Tablespoons) Butter, softened

  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • 3-4 Tablespoons Salted Caramel Sauce (see recipe above) *** see note

Directions:

For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºf. Grease and dust with flour a 9 x 13" sheet pan.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix on low-medium speed until fully combined-- about 30 seconds.

  3. Sift in the flour, sugar, cocoa power, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Mix on low speed until just until combined-- about 20 seconds.

  4. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle in the boiling water. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for 15-20 seconds until everything is combined. Immediately pour into the prepared sheet pan and transfer to the oven.

  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before frosting it.

For the Salted Caramel Sauce: 

  1. In a medium sized heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and cream of tartar and mix until combined. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, swirling the pan around occasionally-- don't stir it!!! The sugar will bubble vigorously once it heats up and then the bubbling will start to subside and that's when you will start to notice the sugar begin to caramelize and change color. Cook until the caramel reaches a deep amber color-- about 5-7 minutes. Don't let it darken too much, you will start to smell the sugar burn and that's when you'll have to start over.

  2. Once the caramel has turned an amber color, take it off the heat immediately and pour in the cream, whisking constantly. Be careful because the sauce will spatter quite a bit. Once the cream is fully incorporated add in all of the butter and whisk until fully combined. Add in the kosher salt and whisk until fully dissolved.

  3. Transfer the caramel to a glass jar or airtight container. Let cool completely at room temperature. The caramel will thickly slightly as it cools. The salted caramel sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to five days. It will be pretty stiff so if you need to, pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds to loosen it up.

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream: 

  1. Create a double boiler by filling a medium sized saucepan with 2 inches of water. Next, place slightly larger heat proof bowl over the top of the saucepan. You don't want the water to touch the bottom of the bowl or else it will burn your meringue mixture. 

  2. Add the eggs whites, sugar, kosher salt, and cream of tartar to the heat proof bowl and stir until combined. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring the eggs constantly, until they reach a temperature of 185°f, this will take about 10 minutes. Once the eggs reach 185°f, transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 

  3. Whip the egg and sugar mixture on high speed for 8-10 minutes or until the meringue forms stiff peaks and is completely cooled to the touch. The bowl of the stand mixer should no longer be warm at all. If it is still warm after 8-10 minutes, keep whisking on high until it's not. 

  4.  With the mixer on medium speed, start adding the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Increase the speed to medium high in between each addition of butter and mix for 10 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium and add the next addition of butter. Once all of the butter is added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. 

  5. Stop the mixer and add in the salted caramel sauce and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until fully combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn the speed to high and mix for 20 more seconds. 

To Decorate the Cake:

  1. Simply dump all of the salted caramel buttercream on top of the cake and use the back of a spoon to "swoosh" around the frosting evenly. I did a 'rustic' look with my frosting but as always, you can decorate it however you prefer.

 

Notes:

* Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder is different than natural cocoa powder you find in most grocery stores. It has a deeper and more rich flavor than natural cocoa and I like to think of it as the 'dark chocolate' version of cocoa powders. You can find dutch cocoa powder in most grocery stores, some Costco's (this is the one I purchase), and on Amazon (I like this one). 

** I highly recommend buying a kitchen scale since each egg weighs differently. It is best to bake using a scale in order to get the most accurate measurement of the ingredients. I purchased this one on Amazon and it works great. 

*** Feel free to add more or less Salted Caramel Sauce to the buttercream depending on your personal preference. I find that the 3-4 tablespoons range is my favorite.